A Whitney Global Media Commentary
April 15, 2021
by William O’Shaughnessy, President & Editorial Director
“My journey started at the bottom.
I’ve done well for myself, and I’m proud of that.
But my journey, like those of so many who’ve come to this city for opportunity, wasn’t always easy.”
That’s the opening line of Ray McGuire, our choice for the next Mayor of New York City, and it says it all about this proud but humble exemplar who’s the very best candidate — the only candidate — with the heart, the smarts, the empathy, the intelligence, the experience, and the innate belief in the enduring power of the American Dream to transform our great metropolis from its post-pandemic malaise into the shining beacon of opportunity for all that it once was and will be again!
Raised by a single mother in Dayton, Ohio with no money, but accompanied by plenty of sacrifices, Ray McGuire knew from a young age that education was the key to a brighter future. Inspired by a 5th grade teacher’s early praise, he bootstrapped a scholarship, and his family made more sacrifices to get him that better education. At 16, he flew alone to Connecticut to make good on a challenge to “test himself” against the best of the Eastern Establishment and scored a scholarship that brought him to the premier Hotchkiss prep school. From there it was on to Harvard for an undergraduate degree and then Law and Business degrees. These schools knew there was something special about this guy.
From Harvard he came to New York for a job on Wall Street and made his mark at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Citibank – and with Joe Perella, the savvy investor – in jobs they all recruited him to accept. Why? Because they knew. They knew he was the young man who could generate $20-plus billion a year in revenue, manage multi-billion-dollar deals, and guide CEOs in creating jobs.
Creating good jobs – that’s as important to Ray McGuire as the mega deals. As a Citi Foundation Board member, he helped the firm improve the lives of people in low-income communities, and worked on a brilliant and comprehensive Report confronting the economic impact of systemic racism.
From the streets to the suites – unbossed, unbound and unstoppable as a catalyst for success – that’s Ray McGuire.
Listen to him describe his journey in an interview called “The Closing” on YouTube and you’d hire him for damn near any job in the country – because his belief that all of us can achieve positive transformation is not only genuine but backed up by Ray McGuire having lived it himself. He may have risen from bootstraps to boardrooms, but his desire to build the foundation for others to take an equivalent journey is what his candidacy is all about.
Sure he lives on Central Park West, but he’s also troubled by “systemic inequities” in the City and understands first-hand what it takes for Black and Brown people to rise above the shackles of circumstance.
When we first heard Ray McGuire on our FM station WVIP, he was reaching out to the Jamaican and Caribbean communities – for votes, to be sure, but more so to offer hope and genuine solidarity.
Ray McGuire is not afraid of Capitalism and has a sincere appreciation of what it could do for Black and Brown people. In fact, in a City so blessed with majestic and magnificent bridges, we believe Ray McGuire is the bridge between the corporate milieu and the communities of color, between the private and the public sector, and between the bricks and the boardroom cultures.
New York City is a culturally and demographically rich community. When Ray McGuire is mayor, people from all the “neighborhoods” will have a seat at the table. With his proven leadership skills, Ray McGuire is the bridge to having them work together.
Jay-Z, Diddy, and Nas – the music world’s most currently prominent voices of the People – support Ray McGuire because they know he’s the guy with the beat that can unite every culture in our City, whether ethnic, corporate, or creative, and tackle all the pressing problems – even the “unsolvable” ones like segregated schools and segregated neighborhoods.
He has brilliant and sensible economic plans, he worries that we’re not building middle class housing, or what he calls “workforce” housing, for the people who run and sustain the City, and he is very clear that rich developers need to invest in the City. (“People shouldn’t have to pay 70% of their income in rent just to maintain a roof over their heads,” he says.)
As he deconstructs the deficiencies of New York City’s housing Policy and focuses on moving low-income people to middle income abodes, Ray McGuire talks of turning hotels into housing, cutting the red tape that always harms those with the least clout the most, and ending the deleterious “tradition” of New York being the most difficult City in which “to get things done.”
We also like Ray McGuire because he’s studied the great issues of the day. And this fellow really means it when he gives primary importance to Education. Beholden to nothing but improvement, and boldly unafraid, he declares, “I will prescribe every model that gets kids a quality Education.”
Unlike so many mayors of the past, Ray McGuire is not out for self-aggrandizement, and he’s not a one trick pony. He always wants to look “at the entire equation” – on relief for tenants and landlords, on tax policies and growth initiatives, on the value of middle-income homes, and on even tougher, politically charged challenges.
While talking about the City he loves, Ray McGuire’s eyes mist over when he says, “There are very few Black people who haven’t had an “episode” with Police. That’s our reality!” We have to change the culture of Police.” But he doesn’t like the language of Defund Police. (Remember, he wants to look at every model.)
My former father-in-law, the late Walter Nelson Thayer, who was president of the Herald Tribune of sainted memory, and ran Citizens for Eisenhower (and was a pillar of the Eastern Republican Establishment), once told me “Men and women of quality will not submit to the rigors of public service. They get a degree in Political Science … and immediately gravitate to Wall Street for the bucks.”
Ray McGuire breaks that mold in a way our City needs right now!
When he can get away from the boardrooms, he plays spirited pick-up basketball games at public playgrounds where he talks admiringly about folks “who’ve got game.” This guy’s “got game.”
He’s articulate and thoughtful. He responds to every email and voicemail and takes great pride and satisfaction in mentoring youngsters and people not of high estate.
What a magnificent role model Ray McGuire will be if the Great City is fortunate enough to install him in City Hall.
Just how special is this Raymond McGuire? … You have only to view the great majority of the current crop of big city mayors as they bumble and stumble their way through important and timely civic pronouncements to try to calm things following police shootings, riots in the streets, floods, urban unrest or just the everyday minutia of governance. The bigger the city, it seems, the more feckless, limited and inarticulate the bumbling mayor.
We find McGuire’s love for the City genuine and very important. There is no question Ray McGuire’s leadership can pull the City together.
If the Great City on which we depend wants to avoid and steer clear of a cringe-worthy and limited chief executive … they will elect this gifted, articulate and extraordinary man – Ray McGuire.
We hope WVOX’s friends at 1460 in the Bronx and Westchester will now step up with financial and vocal support for his long-shot campaign. And we commend his candidacy to the favorable judgment our many Caribbean, Jamaican and Hispanic friends on 93.5 WVIP.
We are persuaded that absolutely no one or any other candidate who aspires to lead New York City during this perilous time is as bright, as astute, as gifted and dynamic as Raymond J. McGuire.
Mr. McGuire is head and shoulders above all the others – not alone because of his obvious ability and awesome talents … but because of his ample heart and becoming sensitivity.
If you sent to Central Casting and said, ‘Send me a superior candidate who will be a great mayor’ … they would send Ray McGuire.
This is a WVOX and WVIP Editorial of the Air. This is William O’Shaughnessy.
William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization. He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.
He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo: Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributes was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.
Cindy Hall Gallagher